On this, the second day of summer, rain was in the forecast. Last evening I noticed some moss growing on one of the rocks at our pond and so, before the rains arrived, I decided I should spend some time making pictures of that moss. While I did take a moment to make some photographs of the bright green moss, it was this trapdoor snail which caught my focused attention.
Japanese trapdoor snails, sold in garden centers, reside in (and reproduce in) our garden pond year-round. Their sole purpose is to act as a natural filter (a job shared with our frog and toad tadpoles), removing algae and other contaminants from the water and maintaining its natural balance. Our pond is mechanical as well as chemical-free.
Trapdoor snails slowly move along the sides of the pond, over the rocks and they have even been known to hang among the slender leaves of our anacharis (Elodea canadensis). As the snails move they consume algae and other decaying matter (i.e leaves, waste). Amusingly, they also host algae, which will grow on the backs of their shells - unless another snail comes along to clean it off. My slow-moving subject this morning is a large, older snail and he was covered in thick green algae. Elsewhere, the pond is relatively algae-free!
Update: Yesterday I discovered what appeared to be an unearthed cicada atop an ants' nest. It was so incredibly small I convinced myself it could not be a cicada, but after photographing it again using the macro lens on my mobile phone, I can clearly identify it: I believe it is an early instar nymph. This would make sense I suppose, as the eggs are deposited in trees and the newly hatched nymphs drop to and tunnel into the ground. Until yesterday it had never occurred to me to imagine cicadas grow through a series of developmental stages (nymphal instars) - and the one I found yesterday may be quite young.